showLearn More
The materials in this course were developed through an NSF grant designed to improve how students learn about and interact with polar regions. The intent was to create materials to help students engage with polar data and researchers and learn more about how polar science issues affect people and animals
Learn more about the Oceans in the News project »
show Download

Instructor Stories

This course has been taught four times at the University of Delaware, both to honors and non-honors students. It has primarily been taught to non-marine science majors; however, a few marine science students have also taken the course. Instructors have found that while the course is challenging, students enjoy it, and find connection in the news stories that helps make them more interested in the data.

Student feedback revealed that the course was generally enjoyed each time it was taught. Students enjoyed the instructors and the help they provided, and found the instructional videos assisted them in learning how to use R. Students mentioned that working in R proved to be a challenge, but one they felt was worthwhile and would help them in the future. (Klein, Riser, & Shapiro 2018; Klein & Shapiro 2018; Klein & Shapiro 2019)

Based on our teaching experience, here is a generic schedule (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 20kB Apr1 20) for a semester long course that meets twice per week for 75 minutes,


A workshop was held to introduce instructors and polar researchers to the key ideas of this course. The workshop taught instructors how to take their science and turn it into a story that they could tell both their students and a broader audience. It emphasized the fact that stories are a crucial unit of information communication in the world, and that by taking their research and turning it into story form, they make it easier to communicate their research to the broader public. By engaging in scientific storytelling, instructors can make their science more understandable to a general audience, and communicate with them in a way they understand and interact with on a daily basis.

Further, the workshop sought to broaden the definition of science communication, and help participants see that beyond written and verbal stories, using visuals (such as cartoons and videos) can add emphasis and clarity to scientific topics. Last, a greater understanding of storytelling can help instructors teach their students to be more critical of what they read.

Workshop Video - Polar-izing your Science Impact: Creating Science Stories, and Taking Science Stories into the Classroom

Future Plans

This class will be taught again at the University of Delaware. This course meets both Natural Science and Multicultural breadth requirements as part of the general education curriculum required of all University of Delaware students.

There are also plans to hold more workshops on course materials, present at conferences, and build upon the content already presented here.

Connect with peers who are using these materials »
How this module is being adopted and adapted »